Protocol - Respiratory Rate - Child

Add to Toolkit

Protocol Name from Source:

Not Applicable; see source


Publicly available


A study staff member counts the number of complete respiratory cycles (one inspiration and one expiration) a subject 4 to 16 years of age breathes in 60 seconds.


1) Use a watch which can measure time in seconds.

2) Child (4-16 years of age) should be seated, may be awake or asleep but should be calm, not agitated.

3) Observe a complete respiratory cycle and count partial respiratory cycles as complete.

4) Count the number of respirations for 60 seconds or in two separate blocks of 30 seconds each.

5) While counting, note the child’s respiratory depth, breathing pattern, and depth of breathing.

6) Record the results.

Personnel and Training Required

Staff trained to count respiratory rates with a watch, and auscultate breath sounds

Equipment Needs

Watch that can measure time in seconds and a stethoscope


Requirement CategoryRequired
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individualNo
Major equipmentNo
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collectionNo
Specialized trainingNo

Mode of Administration


Life Stage:

Child, Adolescent

Specific Instructions:

The protocol for children should be administered in a quiet place where the child can remain calm. The observer or listener should reliably count or listen to the child’s respiratory cycles for up to 60 seconds and observe the child’s respiratory pattern.

Research Domain Information

Release Date:

November 28, 2017


Respiratory rate is the number of breaths an individual takes within a specific amount of time (frequently given in breaths per minute).


Respiratory rate is a low-burden, quantitative variable that can be used to distinguish individuals with and without various forms of lung disease.

Selection Rationale

The child protocol was used in a study of 1,109 healthy children ages 4 to 16 years to establish age-related references for respiratory rate.




Common Data Elements (CDE)Person Respiratory Rate Text2970219CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC)Resp rate child proto62633-3LOINC

Process and Review

[link[phenx.org/node/118|Expert Review Panel #6]] (ERP 6) reviewed the measures in the Respiratory domain.

Guidance from ERP 6 includes the following:

• Re-ordered list of activities in protocol.

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive ([link[www.phenxtoolkit.org/index.php?pageLink=browse.archive.protocols&id=90000]])


Wallis, L. A., Healy, M., Undy, M. B., & Maconochie, I. (2005). Age related reference ranges for respiration rate and heart rate from 4 to 16 years. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 90, 1117-1121.

General References

Evans-Smith P. (2005). Taylor’s Clinical Nursing Skills: A Nursing Process Approach. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Fleming, S., Thompson, M., Stevens, R., Heneghan, C., Pluddemann, A., Maconochie, I., Tarassenko, L., & Mant, D. (2011). Normal ranges of heart rate and respiratory rate in children from birth to 18 years of age: A systematic review of observational studies. Lancet, 377, 1011-1018.

Taylor, C. Lillis, C, LeMone, P. & Le Bon, M (2005). Skill Checklists to Accompany Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Nursing Care (5th Ed). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Protocol ID:



Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
PX091402_Respiratory_CyclesPX091402010000Number of respiratory cycles in one minute4N/A
PX091402_Respiratory_Depth_CommentsPX091402020000Respiratory Depth Comments4N/A
PX091402_Breathing_Pattern_CommentsPX091402030000Breathing pattern comments4N/A
PX091402_Breathing_Depth_CommentsPX091402040000Breathing depth comments4N/A